Neil Robertson hails new practice regime after strong start at Crucible

2010 champion beats Jamie Jones 10-2 in first round of World Championship

Neil Robertson tries to play his way out of a snooker during his World Championship first-round match against Jamie Jones at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Photo:   Lynne Cameron/PA

Neil Robertson tries to play his way out of a snooker during his World Championship first-round match against Jamie Jones at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA

 

Neil Robertson revealed a new practice repertoire which he hopes will lift him among the game’s all-time greats after storming into the second round of the Betfred World Championship.

The 2010 champion rattled in an opening break of 133 as he reeled off the three frames required to turn a 7-2 lead into a 10-2 victory over Welshman Jamie Jones in Sheffield.

Robertson has committed more hours to the game than ever before and he believes it will help him finally fulfil his potential and become a multiple winner of the sport’s major crowns.

“I have put in more hours for this tournament than any other in my whole career,” the 33-year-old Australian said.

“Before I played my first-round match I potted 300 balls without missing – that’s the stuff (Stephen) Hendry used to do. Hendry used to not miss for six or seven frames, and that’s what you have to do if you want to dominate matches.

“If you were to stop my career and look back, I would definitely have a feeling of ‘what if I had practised more?’ I think I could do more so I’ve left no stone unturned coming into this tournament.

“It would be harsh to say I have under-achieved, but I think I could have won a lot more if I’d sacrificed a little bit more.”

Barry Hawkins found himself the reluctant star of another Crucible epic after clinging on to beat qualifier Matthew Selt in a final-frame decider.

The 2013 finalist looked set to ease through to the last 16 after resuming on Monday with a 7-2 overnight lead which he extended to 9-4 to move within one frame of victory.

But Selt responded by reeling off five frames in a row, including back-to-back centuries, before a cool clearance from Hawkins saw him into the second round with a 10-9 win.

Hawkins, who fought off a similar fightback from Dominic Dale in last year’s quarter-finals, admitted: “I can’t keep putting myself through that.

“There’s nothing worse than when someone is coming back at you like that and you can see your lead disappearing.

“You’re telling yourself it’s only one frame but you can see him growing in confidence and potting long balls so it is a horrible place to be.”

Ding Junhui’s dismal record at the Crucible looked set to continue as he lost the first four frames of his first-round match against veteran Mark Davis.

The world number three looked distinctly out of sorts in the early stages, but clawed his way back to reduce the deficit to 3-4 overnight.

World number 10 Stuart Bingham failed to find top form but still did enough to reach round two with a gruelling 10-7 victory over Wirral qualifier Robbie Williams.

Bingham quickly reversed a 5-4 overnight deficit to take control of the game and, after a series of messy frames, he finally got over the line.

Two-time finalist Ali Carter, given the all-clear from lung cancer in December, started his campaign by establishing a 6-3 lead over veteran Scot Alan McManus at the end of their first session.

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